Guitarist Chris Spedding is not weighed down by fame, but if you consider his work over the last 50 years, he has made a subtle contribution to many aspects of modern musical history. He has played with old Bluesmen; up-and-coming Punks; massively popular kids’ comedy bands; he toured with Rock icons; appeared in big musical extravaganzas and he was the go-to guitarist for many Superstars making their blockbuster albums. He can play just about any kind of style, as is shown by his long career in The States as a session musician, working in Jazz, Blues, Pop, Rockabilly, and everything in between. Anything with guitar on it, Chris has done it!
A dozen guitar styles get a workout on Chris’s trademark ‘Guitar Jamboree’;
When Nucleus had run its course, Chris formed Sharks with Andy Fraser from Free and singer Steve ‘Snips’ Parsons to play rock music. During their busy touring schedule, Steve picked up a Gibson Flying-V in Memphis, and this was his signature instrument for many years. In 1974, Chris was asked to audition for The Stones, but he was busy touring and recording with John Cale, Roy Harper and many others. A solo project in 1975 led to a hit UK single, ‘Motorbikin’, and the album had an amusing pastiche ‘Guitar Jamboree’ in the style of Albert King, Chuck Berry, Duane Eddie etc. Session work with Bryan Ferry in 1976 led to a lot of touring and recording work with Bryan and Roxy over the next three decades, but Chris also produced demo tapes for The Sex Pistols and helped them get a record deal. Continuing the Punk theme, Chris toured and recorded with The Vibrators, and they returned the compliment on Chris’s ‘Pogo Dancing’.
Nice solo with Robert Gordon on ‘Summertime Blues‘;
Changing tack completely, Chris played on Jeff Wayne’s concept album ‘War of the Worlds’, and has performed at all its live performances, then moved to New York, where he took over Link Wray‘s place in Robert Gordon’s Rockabilly band. Combining R&B with a measure of Scotty Moore style, Chris began a long association with Robert, while still making solo albums and session music. Relocating to LA in 1993, Chris was always busy as a studio and touring sideman with people like Tom Waits, Paul McCartney and Joan Armatrading, and his own album ‘One Step Ahead of the Blues’ in 2002 had covers of JJ Cale and Mose Allison songs. More recently, Chris has moved back to England, where his biography ‘Reluctant Guitar Hero’ was followed by albums ‘Click Clack’ (the title track taken from a Captain Beefheart number) ‘Now or Never’ and ‘Pearls’.
Recent projects like King Mob, a band including Martin Chambers of The Pretenders and Glen Matlock from The Sex Pistols; Presence, a looser collaboration with much the same personnel; and also touring the world with Roxy, all serve to keep Chris busy. If you’re lucky you can also catch him with veteran bassist Herbie Flowers at an informal ‘Sunday Breakfast’ in the elegant Regency setting of Brighton’s Dome!